Football/Soccer

Dungannon Swifts feeling good ahead of Brandywell trip

Dungannon manager Rodney McAree
Sean O'Neill

Soccer: Irish Premiership: Institute v Dungannon Swifts (Brandywell, 3pm)

DUNGANNON make the trip to the Brandywell today hoping that they can score a win that will take them out of the relegation places.

The Swifts have had an inauspicious start to the new campaign, with just one point on the board to date.

That came in a 1-1 home draw with Cliftonville, when they were pegged back by an 88th minute Jay Donnelly goal.

There have also been defeats to Ballymena United, Newry City and Glentoran.

Their manager Rodney McAree does, however, see some green shoots of recovery emerging.

“Our two performances against Cliftonville and Glentoran (a 2-1 loss) in recent weeks have been decent,” said McAree.

“And obviously we want better results again. But at least we have somewhere to build from and it's a little bit more positive.

“We've moved on from the Newry game and the Ballymena game before it – so we're feeling more confident even though we haven't had the results.

“We had a load of chances against Glentoran. The disappointing thing is that you come away with nothing. You give yourself a mountain to climb whenever you concede an early goal.”

Curtis Allen scored the Glen's second goal in that 2-1 win, and when he considers that Jay Donnelly scored against them also, McAree noted: “That shows you how ruthless the league can be in terms of how the better strikers can sometimes hurt you.

“We have got to be a little bit more ruthless in our own attacking displays, and we have to be a wee bit more ruthless in our defending too.”

Institute are favourites for the game, which may seem odd, but they have had a dream start for a just promoted side.

“I went to watch Institute last Friday night against Coleraine. Obviously they are a team who have just stepped up,” said McAree.

“They're full of enthusiasm, they've had a very good start to the season. They've got good points on the board and they're going to be difficult opposition.

“They've got tricky wingers in the team, they've got very good forwards in the team and it's going to be a tough game. But we're going to the Brandywell; it's not every year we get the opportunity to go there. So it's an experience that I'm looking forward to.

In fairness to the Swifts, their current injury list is extensive, with McAree outlining that he has a lot of doubts over players ahead of the match.

“It's just frustrating because we haven't been able to find a consistency in what we're picking from week to week,” he said

“We have doubts over Jake Dykes,” he said. “We have doubts over Dougie Wilson, Davy Armstrong. Daniel Hughes is out. Mark McAllister will be out, Caolan Coyle will be out. We also have a doubt over Grant Hutchinson.

“We've been dogged with injuries, which hasn't helped. But it's not an excuse, we have a lot of good players here so we can have other boys who can step up to the plate and deliver good performances too.

“We put faith in everybody in the squad, whether it's the oldest or the youngest. So we have to put faith in them this afternoon that we go and get a good result.”

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